Is Minneapolis Dog-Friendly? The Best Places to Take Your Dog in Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis consistently ranks high among the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. Most households have an average of at least one canine pet, so local establishments—from parks through businesses—have followed suit in becoming Fido-friendly. With so many accommodating outdoor and indoor venues, it's no wonder that people don't need to wait to move out of their Minneapolis condos into a suburban new construction home with a fenced-in yard before getting a dog.
There is plenty to do and explore with a dog in the Twin Cities. Here are some of the ways Minneapolis is a dog-friendly city.
Dog-Friendly Activities in Minneapolis
Minneapolis gets colder than most major American cities in the winter; after all, there's a reason why so many of its downtown buildings are connected by a network of climate-controlled pedestrian footbridges, also known as the Skyway System. Being able to keep dogs occupied while remaining indoors is therefore critical to staying dog-friendly. Fortunately, there are several such opportunities in Minneapolis.
One option is the indoor/outdoor dog park known as Unleashed Hounds and Hops, where well-behaved dogs can run around and play while their owners drink beer and eat delicious food from hot dogs to sandwiches. This spot works well for dates, hangouts, or even a solo trip.
For senior dogs, Grey Face Rescue & Retirement serves as a play haven. Group play is permitted at specific times of the week, but private playtimes may also be scheduled using the form on their site. Owners can enjoy outside food and drink while their dogs play.
Stone Mountain Pet Lodge is yet another option for indoor play during the winter months, where dogs are welcome to use the climate-controlled facilities that even contain agility courses.
The consistent theme across all of these dog parks is the recognized need for options to keep dogs happy, engaged, active, and social throughout the year, with a secondary benefit of granting this to dog owners as well.
Dog Parks & Trails in & Near Minneapolis
Sometimes, a bit more of an in-depth outdoor trek is warranted to keep dogs and their owners healthy and happy. This might warrant a departure from Minneapolis and a trip further out to some of the trails and parks in Minnesota since many of the state's campgrounds are extremely dog-friendly and convenient. General guidelines across all parks include keeping dogs on a leash and making sure to stay on trails that are clearly marked as dog-friendly.
Swan Lake Resort and Campground has three dog-friendly cabins and 15 dog-friendly campsites right by the Central Lakes State Trail, which offers paths that are dog-, bike-, and walking-friendly. Fergus Falls is located nearby, in case a bit of downtown exploration is warranted.
Right by Duluth and the St. Louis River, dog owners can find Fond du Lac Campground, which is known for its great wildlife diversity. Over 200 types of birds and more than 40 freshwater fish species can be found here, offering many scents and trails for dogs to track. Dog owners can enjoy adventures like fishing or biking. Downtown Duluth is a close ride away.
As for hiking trails, seven major parks allow dogs: Afton State Park, Battle Creek Regional Park, Katherine Abbott and Wildwood parks, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Oakdale Nature Preserve, Sunfish Lake Park, and William O'Brien State Park. However, almost every park in Minneapolis has trails labeled as dog-friendly, while even the city sidewalks generally trend towards being wide and dog-permissive. There is plenty of opportunity for you and your dog to explore Minneapolis.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Minneapolis
According to BringFido, over 187 restaurants in Minneapolis have outdoor seating options that are dog-friendly. There are basic considerations all of these restaurants want dog owners to keep in mind, such as making sure the weather is safe for their dogs (not too hot or too cold), that their dogs will behave and not be overwhelmed by other diners eating nearby, and that their dog can "hold it in" until taken elsewhere for a quick bathroom break.
Breweries and bars are among the places that most commonly have patios where dogs can hang out while their owners dine and mingle. Surly Brewing Company and Dark Horse Bar both have patios where dogs are more than welcome to hang out; dogs are even allowed inside of Surly, particularly during the sweltering summer heat. Bang Brewing even carries organic snacks for dogs made by Raw Bistro (also in Minnesota). Hi-Lo Diner is another spot with a patio for dining and hanging out, dog in tow.
Dog-Friendly Shopping in Minneapolis
Shopping with a dog can be difficult no matter the locale, with the general exception of pet stores since they tend to allow well-behaved animals on a leash to come inside. But what about human-oriented shopping with Fido? In Minneapolis, there are a few big brand stores and several local shops that love canine visitors.
Home Depot is one of the big-box retailers with a dog-friendly policy, as long as dogs are on a leash. While some local Home Depot stores reserve the right to turn four-legged patrons away, the one near Minneapolis is open to furry visitors. Barnes & Noble is another major brand that maintains a dog-friendly store policy in Minneapolis, as long as they are on a leash and are respectful of the store, merchandise, and other patrons.
If tapping into local vibes is the intent of a shopping excursion, there are Minneapolis-based options that allow dogs inside too. Birchbark Books is a famous local independent bookstore that welcomes dogs with open arms and even celebrates their staff's four-legged family members. The Mill City Farmers Market carries everything from produce to fresh flowers, ceramics and jewelry, and various other locally sourced products. Live music, performances, and cooking demonstrations serve humans while Barkley's Bistro provides fresh water for any dogs in attendance. Yet another great local shopping destination with a dog in tow is Midwest Mountaineering, where people can shop for camping, climbing, and other outdoor equipment and apparel; well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome inside.
Pet-Friendly Lodging in Minneapolis
A search of pet-friendly hotels in Minneapolis reveals over 68 different options, including some of the most high-end downtown experiences. One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes these places have weight limits for dogs allowed and a cap on the number of pets that may stay in one room. Many hotels will charge a pet fee that usually covers any additional cleaning costs. Many also expect patrons to bring the necessary supplies for their dogs, like bowls or beds.
Other hotels offer special amenities solely for their canine guests. For example, the Radisson RED will offer pet beds and bowls for any dogs that stay in one of their rooms. The Hyatt Centric even provides treats and crates upon request, although they note that dogs should not be left unattended. Usually, hotels that allow dog guests do not allow them on the beds and may reserve the right to turn down or even evict any guests whose dogs are not well-behaved or properly supervised.
Bring Your Best Friend to Minneapolis
Is Minneapolis dog-friendly? The answer is a resounding yes. Minneapolis welcomes dogs with open arms and celebrates them with full spirit. From outdoor through indoor activities, social and solo, and every inclination in between, there are plenty of free options available for activities with canine accompaniment. There is little reason to leave a dog at home alone in Minneapolis instead of bringing them along to experience the city and socialize just as much as any human gets to.